About Me

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I am a dedicated and ambitious aspiring freelance journalist, blogger, and writer. My main asset is my international background - I was born in Germany, then moved to France, and proceeded to grow up in China - and the cultural open-mindedness inherent to such a life story. I specialize in opinion pieces, but am also well-versed in travel/event reporting, and writing general news stories. I blog regularly on my two pages, and have contributed to multiple online publications, including Gonzo Today, a web page dedicated to Hunter S. Thompson's "gonzo" journalism and his legacy. If you have any writing needs, I am the right person to talk to! I will be able to match the tone and style you desire, will work overtime to make you happy, and will deliver high quality content. You can find me on Facebook and LinkedIn as "Mark Linnhoefer", and on Twitter as "@markalinnhoefer". For work proposals please feel free to use the contact form on either of my blogs!

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Zeitgeist of our age

is basically non-existent. The hippies defined the zeitgeist of the sixties as a peaceful, drug-fueled revolt against the forces of Old and Evil. The seventies were defined by Disco, the eighties by Rock, the nineties by Rap. But what is the zeitgeist, the spirit, heck, the meaning of the millennial years? Is there even any? Or are we slowly drifting away from a unified sense in our period and approaching a highly-individualized era of senselessness? I mean, what is today's literature made up of? Thrillers, cheap romance novels, investigative pieces on the NSA scandal that came into being way too late, and well, science-fiction and fantasy novels. But is there really a trend in this seemingly random arrangement of themes prevalent in this languish mass of essentially wasted paper? I am by no means a literary expert of any kind, so I cannot know with any certainty, but to me it seems that there is no trend, no meaning, no spirit, nothing at all in the accumulated piles of words that are being thrown at the unsuspecting reader in any and all bookstores around the world.

But that's not fair to say vis-à-vis some grand literary productions that have seen the light of day in the current time and age we so selfishly call 'ours'. There are a myriad great books filled with a plethora of valuable and interesting content-matter out there, I am by no means trying to deny that. But I am missing a golden thread throughout this period that would tie everything together in a unifying thriving to achieve a certain meaningful message in each and every little piece of literature being created. Which is actually not that weird; I'm fairly certain that when literary critics of future years examine the culture we're exhibiting in writing today they'll see a sense in that jumbled mess we're currently finding ourselves in. Albeit having to cede the possible fallacy of that assumption solely because we, and therefore also our writing is getting dumber by the minute, I am still optimistic in our generation succeeding in defining a movement, even if it is the kind that is only apparent in retrospect. Maybe everything written, recorded, and filmed is just a small molecular structure playing its role in a far larger system that it could not even begin to visualize. Maybe all publications have their meaning, but only in a chain of events that has not yet been set into motion and will only be visible once that it has run its course and gone down in history. And maybe not. Perhaps we are after all but players performing on a run-down stage for a non-existent audience merely thinking that we contribute to an equally fictional literary pedigree defined by an undefinable zeitgeist. But I don't really know about any of that to be honest, and actually cannot possibly know. Because if I could, I would be writing about just that - the soul of today's literature, the spirit of our generation, the zeitgeist of our time. And I know I've overused these words in this post already, and it's not that my vocabulary has suddenly devolved to a level far below par, but much rather that I lack synonyms/similar words describing the idea I am trying to convey as fittingly as the ones I have used. So I'll just stick to those.
Anyway. Since I have started writing, I have always tried to maintain a certain standard not only in regard to quality but especially in regard to the message and sense in my words; I have personally always been eager to learn a little something when reading a book, blog, or basically anything, and am therefore trying to incorporate just that in my writing, so that my readers may be inspired to change a few things in themselves, or be enticed to rethink a few points prevalent in their lives, or even just be craving to criticize what I wrote and therefore deal with the topics I have approached. Any and all of these things make me happy. Having an impact on people is a great feeling in itself, and if it is positive it is even more so. I am of course in no position to be claiming to have great truths to offer to mankind that would alter one's perception of things drastically, but I do think that I know a couple of things and have a few opinions that might at least help shape people's own opinion of certain topic. But I have said pretty much that at the end of basically every entry so far. So, what am I getting at with this seemingly random tangent about my intentions when composing these posts for you? Well, if you remember, we were talking about the unified sense in the literary era we currently find ourselves in, and, well, I figured that if everyone has at least similarly high ambitions when it comes to creating meaningful content as I have, this unifying meaning might just be present in today's literature and media after all. Or at least I hope so. Because otherwise, all authors and entertainers would merely be defined by their own legacy, and not be perceived as contributors to a certain significant value that defined their period. Which in one sense would be great, simply because no-one would be able to just ride along on the wave that is the zeitgeist of their period without himself being an even almost-decent author, but on the other hand it would be a horrid perversion of any literary creation, because any author whose work actually holds value is adding that value to society, so just focusing on the work itself would actually be demeaning to said creation.
Although I have to admit that when watching national TV I am rather ambivalent about aforementioned hope of today's media and literature having more meaning than the sum of their parts. Because the bullshit that is pandering to the lowest common denominator in society is being called great television nowadays, and the irrelevant "news stories" that are essentially just the mad illusions of some paparazzi are being treated as quality journalism. And that alone is such a gargantuan sign of foulness and decay in the media world that I cannot actually stand behind my own aforementioned thoughts about everybody else putting as big an emphasis on quality and meaning within their content as it would be appropriate to do. I mean, art, music, and writing were always supposed to be a means to convey a message or at least an emotion to an audience. But nowadays it only seems like a means to make ends meet and enriching oneself beyond any reasonable need. Which is fine. I love to see people in the entertainment business actually being able to live from their art, but the focus of said work should be to actually create something of value to others that goes beyond entertainment in itself. Something that might actually have a positive impact on people's life. Something that might elevate their dull and languish status quo to a meta-sphere of understanding and excitement. Or at least something that elicits some kind of feeling in audiences that causes them to ponder the addressed topics over and over in order to form an opinion on them. But I am just reiterating my previous points here. The main essence has hopefully already been understood by you guys: entertainment should always strive to hold some deeper meaning than the sum of its parts and thereby enrich your life in some way. At least in my opinion that is. But apparently, that opinion is slowly becoming threatened with extinction in the great pool of opinion sharks looking to devour smaller but more intelligent fish by the dozen.

Anyway. This is not only applicable to literature, arts, and media, but also to a business environment. A businesses' main purpose besides making profit should be to create some sort of value for the customer that goes beyond the product being sold in itself. A practice that has by now become commonplace in most industries actually, but for some reason flew by the entertainment sector without leaving its marks. Which is sad, because why should we expect more from some slimy-ass corporate plug than from those having dedicated their lives to bringing enjoyable media to others?
I mean for Fuck's sake, it's supposed to be the other way round isn't it? The business guys are supposed to be those doing their best to not deliver any additional value because that would mean additional costs for them, and the entertainment people are those supposed to be working their asses off to deliver as much value in their "products" as they possibly can! But somewhere along the way some wires seem to have gotten crossed, and suddenly up is down, right is wrong, and the entertainment sector is less ethically and socially responsible than most large corporations. Ha. This is essentially the exact same conclusion I came up with one paragraph prior to this one, but well, I think I've highlighted another aspect here that might seem downright weird to some. I mean, it is of course not true that all multinationals are suddenly acting as saints or anything like that. All I am saying is that it is less surprising by now to see a company act ethically and socially responsible than seeing a music label and its artists doing so. Which is another huge indicator of the foulness and decay within the entertainment industry in this day and age. And it saddens me to see how fucking low we have stooped, to what primal level we have receded. 
Hm. For some reason most of my posts boil down to this, don't they? In the end, it's always about the inner decay within humanity that ruins so many great things. Whether or not that is universally applicable is something I am quite ambivalent about though. On one hand it is true that those things most prevalent in media are obviously those the masses choose to watch, because otherwise they would not have big enough of an audience to allow them to stay on the air, so signs of decay in the media landscape can be treated as a mere outlet of the decay happening in the society producing it. On the other hand, most mainstream media are in the tight grip of large corporations and therefore only strive to produce short-term profits for share- and stakeholders, so the decay in the media world might just be a projection of the greedy ways of those in power. Whichever way you decide to look at it though, I can think we can all agree that entertainment nowadays is not what it used to be. Or at least not the way it' supposed to be, if it ever was. And well, as I have said so many times at the end of so many paragraphs, that is just fucking sad. 

But I am really just paraphrasing myself to some extent here. You have understood the main point I am trying to convey by now, and if you haven't then all the writing I could produce wouldn't help you anymore, so going on would be a futile effort on my part. And therefore I am not going to take it. I am in delay enough as it is anyway without making this post any longer, so I am going to stop. Apropos the delay though, I have decided to change my personal deadline to every two weeks seeing as I have not even been close to making the weekly deadline for, like, ever, so I am just being honest to you and to myself by changing this deadline to posting twice a month. I hope you don't mind all too much and have enjoyed this post. In this light I'll as always leave you be with some great music:

Funxion - Something Different
-> Well this is indeed something different. Great melodic beginning, than a really unexpected drop with these shadowy snare hits in the background that make this great tune such an epically melodic yet energetic piece of music. And well the MA Dubstep logo looks fucking cool, so... Enjoy!

Bakermat - One Day (Vandaag)
-> The video to this track is somewhat confusing to me, but I do love the song nevertheless. The saxophone combined with the awesome deep house beat and the inspirational speech that Martin Luther King gave during that fateful march in Washington all those years ago. It's goosebumps-inducing to say the least. Amazing tune, and a fucking enthralling saxophone melody, so... Enjoy!

Wu-Tang Clan - Killer Bees 
-> "Let's take it back to '79!!" Wu-Tang in their prime, insane beat, great rap, just an amazing, classic track that definitely needed featuring here, so... Enjoy!

Method Man - Bring The Pain 
-> Well, here's what always happens when I listen to Wu-Tang: I hear Meth's part and I get reminded of some great song of his, and immediately switch to listening to it. Which in this case is good for you guys, because I can now share this classic gem with you. Great video, amazing lyrics, legendary MC, and an overall awesome track, so... Enjoy!

Bob Dylan - Mr. Tambourine Man (5/4/65) Bootleg 
-> For lack of the "original" version on YouTube (fuckers...), here is a bootlegged version of the great Dylan tune that was played at Hunter S. Thompson's funeral, and is just a beautiful and timelessly classic song that has a deeper meaning to it, so... Enjoy!

Warren Zevon - The French Inhaler
-> Here is possibly the greatest "fuck you, ex" song ever composed to this day, and asides the obvious benefits of venting by listening to it, it is just a fucking amazing piece of music. Warren Zevon's music is just so great, and I cannot say that I have found a song of him that I actually dislike so far, so... Enjoy!

Well. This post took an eternity to complete once again and I can now with certainty say that my next one will also take about the same amount of time, seeing as I am stuck with university tasks and projects, and also as of lately with community service, which is just fucking annoying and has no rehabilitative effects whatsoever. But well. Shit happens, and I'll just get through with it as quickly as I can and then never ever let the thought of it interfere with any electrical impulses between my neurons ever again.
Anyhow. I hope that this post was enjoyable to you, and well, as always, that you learned something or were enticed to rethink things, but you know the deal. 


Peace!

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I have a thick skin, so go ahead if you feel like criticizing, but if you keep going on and on about details of carnal relations you claim to have had with my mother your comment will be removed.
I guess what I'm saying is that you can express your opinion, just try to do so in a constructive or at least moderately respectful manner, otherwise the comment section is just going to go to shit and I'll be forced to close it, seeing as I will definitely not be moderating it if unwanted/spam/bullshit comments keep coming...
If you can not behave, the possibility of commenting here will disappear, that's as simple as it is.